How much valuable writing time do you waste fighting technology? It’s possibly more than you think or are willing to admit.
Yes, it’s easy to get carried away with fascinating new tools, apps, and software, but how much extra value do they bring to your writing and publishing?
One time-consuming aspect is that when you try a new tool, there is always a learning curve, which takes a while. Another is discovering bugs and learning how to deal with them.
Trying new apps and tools to help writers and publishers is what I do day almost every day. But I have to be honest here. Very few make the cut to get a mention on my site.
How to write without fighting technology
Writing is a pretty simple process.
All you need is a word processor or even a pen and paper. No fancy app or tool will make it easier or faster to string your words together.
Okay, you can access so many AI tools to write for you now, but in all honesty, they all produce bland, boring, and repetitive writing.
I don’t know how many AI writing tools I have tried and how many different prompts I have used to generate reasonably readable texts.
But as yet, none can compare to writing the words myself, as I am doing now.
I’ve also tried many online writing apps and tools for books and content writing. Some are interesting and occasionally offer unique little options.
But it comes at the expense of always needing to be online to use them.
However, the biggest issue is that bugs and errors can occur. One writing app I was quite keen on suddenly developed massive bugs after an update, resulting in me losing so much time trying to get it to work again.
And it’s not the only occasion that a writing app has failed me.
That’s why I write every word now with my word processor. I use Pages because I’m a Mac user, but there are plenty of options if you are a PC user.
It’s new, great and time-wasting
How many times have you tried a new app or tool and then spent so much time trying to make it work for you? It happens all the time.
My most recent experience was with my WordPress site. After ten years, I decided to give it a facelift with a new theme.
It’s usually a simple upgrade, but I knew I had to be careful and take my time.
I used a development site to make sure everything worked and tested all the elements and features of the site for about six weeks. I spent only an hour or so each day on it, so it didn’t take up too much of my time.
In the end, I was happy and finally upgraded my live site. All appeared fine for a while until I noticed a problem with the main menu that hadn’t occurred during my testing.
I tried to replicate the issue on my testing site but couldn’t.
What followed was two whole weeks of contacting theme support, searching the Internet for clues, and trying so many different variations of settings.
Yes, I got there in the end. But this episode of fighting with technology cost me two full weeks of my time to solve the issue.
Perhaps I should have followed the old adage: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Even tried and true apps can give you surprising headaches. Google Drive is a popular tool for writers to save Google Docs files.
But it suffered from a glitch that deleted files and caused quite a bit of panic.
Needless to say, a lot of users spent days trying to recover years of work before Google rectified the issue.
Yes, technology is great until it breaks.
How to simplify your workflow
We all use technology every day.
For writers, however, there is no pressing need to use the latest and greatest new tool to improve their output.
Stick with what you know works for you.
Any well-known word processor will work for you without causing any time-wasting issues.
Word and Pages are the most popular and have the advantage of safely saving your files on your computer. You can also save a backup to a cloud drive or even a USB key.
For self-publishers, Amazon KDP and Draft2Digital offer many free and reliable tools to help you publish your work.
If you are writing and publishing articles or blog posts, the most popular platforms like WordPress, Blogger, or Medium are easy to use and reliable.
Using trusted tools and platforms is the best way to ensure you don’t waste your time.
Trying new applications
New apps and tools pop up almost every day.
There’s nothing wrong with trying something new. But don’t be tempted to introduce it into your workflow until you have thoroughly tested it.
Also, be aware that it’s very common for developers to offer a new app for free to attract new users to test it and report bugs or issues.
Once a new app attracts a reasonable user base and users have helped iron out all the bugs, a paid version is often the next step.
If you are lucky, you might be able to keep using it for free. But in my experience, it is often at the expense of so many disappearing features that only the paid version is usable.
But on the positive side, I use a handful of very reliable free apps that have helped me over many years.
The best approach is to test, try, and wait before you rely on a new app.
Fighting technology is one of the great time-wasters for a writer.
You can’t avoid technology, but you want it to help, not hinder you.
If you stick with the tried, tested, and proven tools you have used for a long time, you can’t go far wrong.
But if you are constantly trying new things, it comes at the expense of your writing time and productivity.
Writing and publishing is a relatively simple process that doesn’t need a lot of fancy tools and apps.
A word processor, dictionary, thesaurus, and a reliable publishing platform are all you need.
Keep it simple, and you will be more productive.
Related Reading: The Skills A Writer Needs Apart From Knowing How To Write